Home / Computing / Laptop / Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review

By

Reviewed:

1 of 13

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
  • Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Impressively slim
  • Stylish metal-clad design
  • Surprisingly good keyboard and trackpad
  • Bright and high-resolution display
  • Impressive processing performance

Cons

  • Poor connectivity compared to normal laptop
  • Poor battery life
  • Hybrid design has fundamental issues
  • Screen has severe backlight bleed issues

Key Features

  • 12.5in, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS display
  • Removable keyboard/trackpad dock
  • Intel Core M 5Y51 processor
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB SSD storage
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: £670.00

What is the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300?

Starting life as a line of Android tablets with clever folding keyboard docks, the Asus Transformer range has since morphed and expanded to now include models that run Windows, creating an even more laptop-like experience.

The latest iterations of these devices are the Transformer Book Chi lineup, which consists of the 12in T300, the 10in T100 and the 8.9in T90. The T300 is not just the biggest but also the most powerful too, with specs that rival a conventional Ultrabook laptop.

The idea is to create the perfect hybrid that balances the portability and casual ease of use of a tablet with the true versatility of a Windows laptop. Unfortunately the T300 falls some way short of achieving this.

Asus Transformer Book Chi T300 – Design and Features

Where Asus can’t be faulted is in the design of the T300. It’s as sleek and premium-looking a machine as you could hope for, with an black anodised all-metal finish with a little bevelled edge to show off the metal below.

SEE ALSO: Best Windows 8 Laptops

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

It’s slim too, with the tablet and keyboard section combined coming in at under 18mm. At 1.4kg it’s actually a little heavier than an equivalent Ultrabook laptops but this is because of the toughened glass used to cover the tablet’s touchscreen.

This also makes the design a little top-heavy, and the combination can be prone to tipping backwards – plus it doesn’t look quite as sleek as a thinner-screened Ultrabook – but it’s a surprisingly rare occurrence.

Key to the new slim design is that the hinge mechanism where the tablet docks into the keyboard has been redesigned. Previous Transformers had a bracing section onto which the back of the tablet rested, which meant there was a fairly thick bump when the tablet was closed.

The new design uses a pair of pins and corresponding slots in the tablet to centre the tablet while magnets hold the two pieces together. This has also allowed Asus to do away with the release clip of previous models, instead relying on the magnets alone.

SEE ALSO: Best Free Antivirus: Windows Defender vs AVG, Avast & Avira

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

It’s definitely a much neater design, though we did encounter a few occasions where the pieces did come apart when we tried to lift the whole thing when holding only either the keyboard or tablet section. In particular it’s susceptible if lifted from one corner so a little bit of care will be needed in day-to-day use.

Something else that makes the T300 a little inconvenient is the stiffness of the hinge mechanism, which makes it a little awkward to open laptop-style. In fact, it’s only because there’s a little bit of give in the tablet mount that you can open up enough of a gap to get your fingers between the two pieces to prise them apart.

But these are relatively minor concerns when compared to the T300’s two biggest design flaws.

The first is that the keyboard dock no longer has a wired connection to the tablet. This means it can’t provide any extra connections or battery power, as on previous Transformers, and in fact it needs to be charged separately via its microUSB socket. It really is just a jumped-up Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad.

This leads into our final big concern about the overall design, which is that all the connectivity is on the tablet, and because Asus has tried to keep this as slim as possible the result is little in the way of useful connections. Specifically you don’t get any full-size USB ports nor an SD card reader.

The latter we can forgive, but to have no full-size USB ports built into a device that is supposed to be a genuine laptop contender is criminal. Asus does provide a dongle that expands the microUSB 3.0 port to a full-size port but it’s just not the same – if the Microsoft Surface can fit one in then so too can, and should, the T300.

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

You do also get a microSD slot so there is again an option for expanding the tablet’s storage and making it easier to copy files from your camera (assuming you use a microSD to SD converter). There’s also a combined headphone and microphone jack and, rather bizarrely given the other connectivity limitations, a microHDMI port.

The overall result is a device that doesn’t quite feel at home either as a tablet or a laptop. For the former its sheer size means it’s not really the sort of tablet you’d want to carry around on its own. Sure, it’s nice to be able to ditch the keyboard on occasion and have the touchscreen there for navigation but we’d much rather have a smaller tablet for day-to-day tablet use. Meanwhile, as a laptop alternative it just doesn’t have the features you'd reasonably expect.

The upshot is that the T300 Chi has to be a top performer elsewhere to come close to justifying its existence.

SEE ALSO: Best Laptops, Ultrabooks and Hybrids

Helping in this regard is that inside this machine is a similar CPU to that in the new MacBook, with an Intel Core M 5Y71 running the show. This is joined by a plentiful 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in SSD storage. As such this hybrid laptop definitely has the horsepower to compete with the lower end of the conventional thin-and-light laptop market.

Kulti Vator

January 6, 2015, 2:56 pm

I realise this is just an initial impressions piece, but seriously, no hardware specs at all?

Surely it'd have been possible to give a quick overview of CPU / RAM / GPU / Screen-Res - rather than focusing on the purely cosmetic stuff covered here?

Some of us actually get past simply admiring the appearance of the gadgets we purchase!

illegaloperation

January 6, 2015, 4:06 pm

12.5-inch display with 2560x1440px resolution
4GB / 8GB RAM
128GB SSD

Kulti Vator

January 6, 2015, 10:45 pm

Thanks IllegalOperation.

TorpeAlex

January 8, 2015, 4:44 am

Darn it.

I was looking forward to this new generation of Transformer Books as I love my T100- it's light enough and versatile enough for use almost anywhere even if the performance does stutter a bit on intensive tasks (but really, it's a netbook). Seeing a new TBook with better construction, more RAM and a 1080p+ screen had me ecstatic.

However, the biggest selling points for me (the [full] USB 3.0 on the keyboard and MicroSD card slot) have been removed, making me an unhappy camper.

Here's hoping the other new Transformer tablets have better connectivity options- otherwise those Lenovo hybrids are looking mighty tempting.

TorpeAlex

January 8, 2015, 4:45 am

A 1080p model for $100 less has also been confirmed. For future reference Asus's product page is live: http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_...

John

January 16, 2015, 11:21 pm

Nice machine. Crazy price.

Bobby Salvin

February 10, 2015, 3:12 am

With all of the categories it is hard to know what to compare with what. If what you really want is Mac Book Air, you're looking for a pure notebook and not tablet or hybrid. I really want a hybrid, so I can use it as a tablet when I need to, such as when I am standing. If you're buying a tablet, form is important. A tablet cannot be too thin or too light, and I think it really has to be fanless. The lack of full sized USBs is something I can live because I assume there are adaptors, and if you're comparing it to an ipad, any USB's are better than none. At this point, more connectively is taking place through wireless networks and the cloud then through thumb drives, for instance.

I would be more interested in knowing how balanced the device is. Is it too top heavy without a battery in the base to weigh it down? How far can it lien backwards without falling down? Right now, I have an Asus VivoTab tf180C which is an 11.6" Atom powered hybrid that is pretty thin and light. But I would like a 12.5" model that may be even thinner and lighter while also being more powerful.

Jenny

February 26, 2015, 2:33 am

When will the Asus T300 Chi be released for sale?

Vaughn Feuer

March 17, 2015, 9:34 pm

The Chi T300 does in fact have a microSD slot, it's on the bottom edge, hidden by the dock when connected.

Vaughn Feuer

March 17, 2015, 9:34 pm

It is on sale as of the 11th through the Microsoft Store.

Jenny

March 20, 2015, 3:33 pm

Do you have any idea when the higher end version should be coming out?

comments powered by Disqus